A Family Affair – Rev3 Maine

August 29th, 2012

When Rev3 announced last year that they were adding a new venue in Maine, I knew as soon as I looked at the course, that I had to do it.

How could I not do a race with a swim at the pier at Old Orchard Beach and a bike course that went through my home town, Hollis Center?  Unfortunately, the timing was really bad, being the second week of school.  So, we decided we would do the race as a relay. It would make the event less stressful overall and I wouldn’t need as much recovery time after.   I would swim 1.2 miles and run the 13.1 miles and Thom would bike 56 miles  in between.

Overall Impression: I had no idea how well organized Rev3 events were.  I wish they did more out on our way because I would definitely do another.  The best thing was having an assigned transition area.  You knew exactly where your space was, with a little box to hold stuff if you wanted.  All the other races I’ve done you’re just assigned a set of racks for your age group and everyone tries to fit into the space with some people taking up more than their fair share.  The swag was pretty nice too: a great finisher’s medal, a long sleeve t shirt, a towel, googles, Powerbar gels and a bar, some Triswim samples.   I also really liked the temporary tattoos for race numbers.  They looked so much nicer than handwritten sharpie.

It was really wonderful to have my family cheering me along on the course.  We had a huge cheering section.  My sister Val spent the day in transition so she could have custody of the keys  to the RV we borrowed from Thom’s parents.  My sister Vicki, Thom’s parents and and an aunt and uncle with their spouses all got up early to cheer us on from the start.  Vicki picked up my mom later in the day and brought her out to the run course and to the finish.  It really felt good to have my own cheering squad.  🙂

Race Day:  Things did not go quite as I would have liked race day morning.  I didn’t have time to consume all of my breakfast; we were a little late arriving; some of Thom’s gear didn’t get packed for the bike; I forgot my BodyGlide ( stuff that makes your skin slippery and wetsuit removal easier);  it was a long walk from parking to the transition area, and an even longer walk to the swim start.  I was a bit stressed from the get go.   Not an auspicious beginning.

Swim: Four minutes before my wave start Thom was hurriedly zipping me into my wetsuit.  Since we were a relay, our wave also included men 45 – 49 years old, Clydesdale men (guys weighing at least 200 pounds) and the Aquabikers (the smart folks only doing the swim and the bike.)  All of them were already in the swim corral when I got up there and discovered that my race bracelet had come undone when I put on my wetsuit.  Great, that’s the thing that’s suppose to allow me back into the transition area and the other athlete only areas.  An official assured me all would be okay and I trotted on down to the beach.  Count down and we’re off, running into the small waves.  Old Orchard Beach doesn’t have much surf – less than a foot.

This was my first ocean swim and I really did not like it.  The water tasted BAD.  I didn’t get swamped by any waves, but still I swallowed some water every now and then just breathing. The men in the wave were much pushier and more aggressive than I’ve ever experienced in all the races I’ve done in the last five years.  I’ve never before had someone try to swim over the top of me.  Ocean temp was about 67 degrees and temperature wise I felt good in my full sleeve wetsuit.  But it was really chafing my neck.  It felt like the velcro closure was folded and was just rubbing across the back of it.  I’ve never been really good at sighting and between trying to avoid the men and my tendency to pull to the right, I swam a very zigzaggy course.  My Garmin says I swam 1.67 miles!  According to the GPS, I swam out 700 yards, turned north and swam parallel to the beach for 1600 yards, turned back in and swam 825 yards to the beach.  The out bound leg was not too bad, other than the men trying to run me over.  The long northbound leg was a little disconcerting at times.  At one point I came up, couldn’t see any buoys or swimmers and said out loud, “Where the hell am I?!”   The ocean is vast!   The return to the beach was really hard, every time I sighted it seemed like I had made little progress in the right direction. I felt I was being pulled further north than I wanted to be.

I exited the water in just under 49 minutes.  Slower than I wanted but given the extra four tenths of a mile I swam, not a bad time.  We had a long run, three tenths of a mile, to the transition area.  I had left running shoes at the top of the beach since I did not want to run across the cobbles and railroad tracks in bare feet.  I had thought I would run with my wetsuit  fully on, but the neck chafing was really starting to hurt, so I unzipped it and began taking it off.  Unfortunately, I really wasn’t thinking and tried to  pull both arms down at once and got stuck!  It looked like I was running with cooked lobsters attached to my arms.  But it was nice to have the velcro off my neck! In transition, Thom pulled the timing chip off my ankle, freed one of my arms, gave me a quick kiss and was off.

Bike: You’ll have to read Thom’s report.

While Thom was gone, there were some things I should have done, but didn’t.  I should have eaten both of my PBJ sandwiches instead of just 3/4 of one.  I should have gone to the expo and bought some gels for my run, as I had given Thom mine.  What I did do was go take a quick shower in the RV; it was so nice to get all that salt off and change into my cute running outfit.  Yes, I purchased an outfit just for this race.   I knew I was going to be running for a  LONG time and I wanted to look good doing it.

Run: Thom made his goal of a sub 3 hour bike (WOOHOO!)  and looked pretty spent as he ran down transition with his bike.  But he is tough and determined. He had ridden his bike leg hard, just like he was suppose to.  I got the timing chip off his ankle, another quick kiss and I was off for my 13.1 mile run.  As I took off, I hit the wrong button on my Garmin and did not actually start it.  It was still showing my heart rate and speed however and I kept checking it.  I tend to take off too hard and blow up early.  I wanted to average somewhere between 11 and 12 minutes.  About a mile in I realized I had not actually started it and clicked the right button.  It immediately began telling me my heart rate was too high.  I slowed my pace a bit to bring it down.  I don’t know how fast my first mile, but miles 2 – 5 averaged between 12:10 and 12:50.  A little slower than the goal, but I wasn’t blowing up.  I had run up all the hills at the beginning and was on the flat Eastern Trail through Scarborough Marsh and was feeling pretty good.  My calves and ankles had been tight at the start, but after a mile or so were feeling fine.  I was thinking to myself, I had this.  I arrived at the spot where all my family were waiting: mom, Vicki, aunts and uncles, Thom’s parents.  It was awesome to have people cheering for me, holding up signs as I ran by.

Shortly after that, I hit a wall.  Not literally, but I just stopped.  I  didn’t  even think about it, my legs just stopped running.  Here I was, on the flattest course I have ever run and I was walking.  REALLY?!   Yeah, I should have eaten more earlier.  I should have stopped at the first and second  food stops and gotten Gatorade.  But I hadn’t and I had to suck it up and just keep going.  I ran and walked and ran and walked my way to the next feed station.  I wanted Gatorade because I knew it would sit well and being a liquid should get in my system a little quicker.  They didn’t have any.  I took a pretzel and a cup of water  and walked.  I ate most of the pretzel, washing it down with the water.  That was mile six and it was a 13:23 mile pace.  Here I was well on my way to having a run as if I had ridden the bike.  I was a bit dejected at this point, but you can’t just stop.  The next few miles continued to be a mid 13 minute pace.  I went into 14 minutes with a rest room stop.  My mom and Vicki were still at the  feed station and seeing them cheered me up a bit.  I kept going and somehow I managed to work my way back to about a 13 minute pace.  I was doing a five minute run, one minute walk thing which I had inadvertently set my Garmin to do at some point.  It was a strategy that I gave me some focus.  Once back out on the road, I had a few short hills and then a descent and flat to the finish.  As I was walking to the crest of the last hill, my niece drove by and encouraged me on.  It was so unexpected and perfect timing!  Down the hill, onto the flat, don’t start sprinting too early…  Into the chute, start seeing family members… there’s Thom waiting to run to the finish with me.  We hold hands and run on.  My Garmin’s been beeping at me for about a quarter mile – my heart rate is too high.  I don’t care, almost done.  We slow a bit before the finish to give the family in front of some space.  Then hands in the air, big finish!

Post Race:  Ahhh… pizza and orange soda!  Life is good.  The family is asking if we’ll do the race again.  While I was hanging around with Val I had told her how nasty the swim was.  And they all knew my run had been less than stellar.  But having them there, knowing that they were cheering for us, just made me giddy.  And still does 48 hours later.  I’ll do the race again just for that!

But I think Thom will do the run.  🙂




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